For those of us who work at home – creatives, contractors, and freelancers – comfort, creativity, and productivity can be so much more challenging than within the structure of a formalized workplace.
As if minimizing distractions and disruptions throughout an unconventional workday weren’t enough, those hours (upon hours!) sitting at a desk can take a dramatic toll on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one out of every four North American adults sits at work for over eight hours every day.
And, while our minds might be sharp – we’re creating knowledge workers, after all – that much time spent sitting at our desks is making our necks, backs, and shoulders ache, and for many of us, fatigue sets in far earlier in the day than it should. Hello, caffeine!
Don’t rush for that afternoon cuppa quite yet. There’s a better way to help you work at your best all day long and feel good at the end of it: a standing desk, also known as a height-adjustable desk.
From reducing back pain to weight management to enhanced productivity, there is a range of benefits you’ll enjoy when you work at a standing desk.
Oh, and fun fact: famous author, Ernest Hemingway worked from home at a standing desk. If it was good enough for him, indeed, it’s a better way for you to work, too.
A standing desk – what is it?
A standing desk is just that – a desk at which you stand rather than sit — and much more comfortably.
When they first hit the marketplace, standing desks were available at one static height – good, but not entirely suited to most workers or workplaces. Today, standing desks, sometimes referred to as sit-stand desks, are often height-adjustable, allowing the user to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the workday according to their needs and the demands of the job.
A standing desk – what are the benefits?
There are a variety of benefits to a standing desk and standing as you work. Being more mobile, at least on a partial or alternating basis during your day is game-changing:
As Nature Intended: our bodies are not designed to spend the majority of our time seated and sedentary – we need to move! If your days are too full to incorporate regular exercise throughout the day, a standing desk and the opportunity to stand as you work lets you enjoy at least some of the same advantages.
Reduced Discomfort, Pain, and Fatigue: after hours of designing, editing, writing, and proofreading, chances are your posture is suffering. Do you find yourself slouching or hunched over your desk as the hours wear on? Standing can help reduce those aches and pains!
Weight Management: it’s not unusual for desk workers to experience creeping weight gain due to hours seated all day, every day. It’s one of the hazards of office work.
You may be surprised to learn that working – writing, editing, designing, all of the demands of your job – at a standing desk burns more calories than doing it sitting all day. It also helps to get you moving throughout the day.
Enhanced Mood and Increased Energy: sitting all day can take it out of you – leaving you sluggish and tired. In fact, more time spent sedentary can be linked to anxiety and depression.
Standing to work intermittently throughout the day has been proven to improve your mood, and your energy levels once back on your feet. To prove the positive effects of standing more at work, the “Take-a-Stand Project” provided 24 office workers with standing desks. Over four weeks, the participants reported improved mood states having reduced their sitting time by merely an average of 66 minutes.
Boosts Productivity: A better mood and more energy, not to mention reducing neck, shoulder, and back pain all contribute to improving mental clarity and a better experience and attitude at work – and increased productivity. When you’re able to work comfortably and feel energized and motivated, it makes sense that you would be more creative and more productive.
A standing desk – how best to use it?
Are you wondering how long is best to stand if you want to enjoy the benefits of a standing desk? Typically, the recommendation is to stand 30 minutes per hour to reap the health and wellness rewards of standing at work – alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
As you adapt to a standing desk, it’s recommended that you start with 30 minutes to an hour per day and gradually increase your time standing each week.
As you plan your new standing, or sit-stand, workstation, keep the following in mind:
- Size of the work surface you need (consider the size of your laptop, desktop, monitor, etc.). To ensure the most productive workspace consider creating an L-shaped desk configuration with your standing desk.
- Your height, both sitting and standing.
- The height of your workstation, including both sitting and standing vantage point.
Height-adjustable desk options are optimal for just about anyone.